Cancer center in Idaho Falls, Idaho

We know receiving a cancer diagnosis is never easy. That's why the dedicated oncology specialists at the Idaho Cancer Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) provide high-level, cutting-edge treatments for patients with cancer.

Our forward-thinking cancer care program helps you and your family navigate this challenging experience. We provide a range of specialized services for screening and early detection, diagnosis, treatment and management.

To learn more about our cancer services, call (208) 227-2700.

Cancer services we offer

The Idaho Cancer Center at EIRMC offers extensive cancer treatment options. Our expert cancer doctors and clinical team treat your cancer with a patient-centered approach, attacking treatment from as many angles as possible to get you back to everyday life.

In fact, we are the only radiation oncology facility in the state of Idaho that is accredited by the American College of Radiology. With oncologists, radiation oncologists and state-of-the-art equipment, our patients are sure to get the best diagnostic tests and treatments in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Our cancer services include:

  • Genetic counseling
  • High-dose-rate brachytherapy
  • Infusion services, including chemotherapy
  • Interventional radiology
  • Medical oncology
  • Nutrition and exercise care
  • Radiation oncology
  • Surgical care

Diagnosing cancer

The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the greater your chances for a full recovery. That’s why it is critical to know how cancer is detected. One of the most effective ways is scheduling regular medical check-ups and cancer screenings with your healthcare provider. During these consultations, ask your doctor about potential risks, which could be based on age, medical history, lifestyle and family history.

Some of the most common ways to detect cancer include:

Cancer treatment options

The cancer specialists at EIRMC provide our patients with the most effective and comfortable care options possible. No matter the type or stage of your cancer, you can rest assured that we explore all possible courses of treatment to make sure your diagnosis is cared for with the best available technology and techniques. Available cancer treatment options include:

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is a localized internal radiation therapy treatment in which radioactive seeds, ribbons, or capsules are placed in your body, in or near a cancerous tumor. The Idaho Cancer Center at Eastern Idaho Regional is the only facility in southeast Idaho, western Wyoming and southern Montana offering advanced high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.

While low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy is widely performed in our region, HDR brachytherapy provides a more precise treatment in only a few minutes, sparing healthy tissue from unnecessary radiation exposure. HDR brachytherapy is beneficial for prostate, breast, lung, cervical, uterine, skin and oral cancers.

Some other benefits of HDR brachytherapy include:

  • Eliminate future radiation exposure, as LDR carries a six-month postoperative radioactive period, while HDR has no postoperative radioactivity.
  • Greater ability to conform the radiation to the unique tumor via a single, small (1mm x 3 mm) highly radioactive source attached to the end of a thin, flexible cable.
  • More precise dosing, as the final doses are explicitly known before any radiation treatment begins.
  • Shorter treatment times, as HDR brachytherapy can be performed in just three to 10 treatments, depending on the type of cancer being treated, instead of weeks and months of LDR treatments.

Chemotherapy treatment

Chemotherapy is a medication used to treat cancer. The main goals of chemo are to cure cancer, keep it from spreading, slow its growth and relieve cancer symptoms. Chemotherapy treatment takes many forms, as patients can take it in the following ways:

  • Central venous catheters
  • Implanted ports in the chest
  • Orally
  • Intravenously through an IV
  • Intramuscular (muscle) or intrathecal (spine) injections

Your doctor may suggest more than one chemo drug because some medications work better together. Your chemo dosage schedule may last from a few weeks up to a year, with varying cycle frequency. This is because treatments are followed by rest cycles to give your body time to build healthy new cells and regain strength.

You can find more information about our chemotherapy offerings on our infusion services page.

Minimally invasive radioembolization therapy for liver tumors

At EIRMC, we are proud to be one of only a few hospitals in the nation to offer some of the most advanced minimally invasive procedures for liver cancer patients. According to Columbia Radiology, radioembolization therapy has been shown to potentially add months and, in some cases, years to the life expectancy of patients with liver cancer.

A catheter is inserted into the liver through an artery in the groin during the procedure, near the cancerous tumor. Up to 80 million microscopic radioactive beads are then released, each one about the size of four red blood cells.

As tumor cells are hungrier than other cells, reliably "consuming" 15 times more beads than any other tissue, the heavy dose of radiation attacks cancer and suppresses it, at least for a while.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. At Idaho Cancer Center, we use cutting-edge technology to deliver more precise radiation treatments. Using an advanced image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) system, we can treat cancer with radical speed and accuracy while protecting healthy tissues and organs.

Benefits of IGRT radiation therapy include:

  • Treatment times that last just a few minutes. A standard intensity-modulated treatment might typically take 15 minutes, but ours can be completed in less than two.
  • Increased sub-millimeter precision for beam treatments, as opposed to standard therapies, which are measured in increments less than two millimeters. Additionally, the table maneuvers your body for maximum precision, with real-time imaging accuracy checks conducted every 10 milliseconds.
  • Respiratory gating allows the physician to sync radiation beams with your chest breathing movements, protecting organs and healthy tissue from unnecessary radiation.
  • Open interaction between you and the clinicians operating the equipment via closed-circuit television systems that allow them to see and hear you at all times.

Surgical oncology

Surgical oncology is the surgical removal of cancer and/or tumors. Surgery for cancer is often the first-line treatment, or your doctor may recommend it after chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

While surgical removal of tumors is the primary objective for surgical oncology, it may also be used for cancer diagnosis — including location determination, preventive removal of potentially hazardous tissues and reconstructive purposes.

When surgery is determined as the proper course of treatment, our surgical oncologists will discuss your diagnosis and available treatment options to determine what is best for you. Some factors discussed will include your current fitness level based on your age, preexisting medical conditions, and the tumor's type, stage, size, and location.

Our surgical oncologists will work with the other team members to take a multidisciplinary approach to anticipate and manage any surgery's potential side effects, including pain. As such, it is crucial to be vocal with your oncology team about any pain that arises so that they may prescribe appropriate pain-relieving medications as needed.

Oncology nurse navigator

One of the most important members of the oncology team is our nurse navigator. The oncology nurse navigator keeps you and your family educated about your diagnosis and treatment, coordinates care and communication between providers and acts as your advocate to ensure your wishes are conveyed to the cancer care team.

From discovery to recovery, they talk you through your recommended treatment plan, which may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination. They answer questions, explain medications, side effects and help family members understand the best way to support you. Additionally, the nurse navigator schedules and supports your appointments with oncologists, surgeons and other care team members.